If you think the idea of friends with benefits is pretty rad, just wait 'til you learn about foods with benefits. Yup, there are totally foods out there that can help you get it on longer and go harder. And we're not talking about crazy Fear Factor-y edibles like slimy conch penis either — these are foods that you'll actually want to eat. Do we have your attention yet?
Because we've all been caught in those moments during sex when the mind is willing, but the body isn't able, we're providing you all the delicious details. And unsurprisingly, it turns out the secret to better sex is keeping yourself healthy and hydrated.
A general note on nutrition
Without delving too far into it, literature from WebMD to Discovery Health agrees that the best diet for sex is one that leads to a healthier lifestyle. The healthier the body, the better it will function as it's "exercising," but more important, you'll feel better about yourself. Research shows that most of the blocks to great sex (in healthy sexually active adults) are mood, not food. Stay fit, and you'll feel better about yourself and have better sex.
Make your intimate moments longer, stronger and hotter
It can be easy to forget that, at its heart, sex is a cardio workout. Just like someone getting ready to go to the gym or an athlete getting ready to run a marathon, proper nutrition is essential to getting the sexiest results possible. Fortunately, just like sports nutritionists have identified optimal meals for the best results in a run, nutritionists have also discovered foods that will increase your stamina in bed.
The good news is that each of these foods is delicious in addition to giving you and your partner the endurance to keep the love on. The better news is that, unlike running a marathon, you'll really love trying these sex foods and seeing the results for yourself.
1. Foods rich in vitamin B12
Any food rich in vitamin B12 will help the body with energy production, and with so many options to choose from, it's easy to get more B12 into your diet. These options include eggs, shellfish, beef, caviar and fortified tofu. Once you've had your B12 feast, you can expect increased blood circulation and strength. It also helps to elevate mood.
2. Raw oysters
The myth about oysters being good for you in bed is actually true. Oysters are high in zinc, which stimulates testosterone, a hormone useful for building and maintaining desire in both men and women. They also deliver amino acids that have been linked to sexual desire, and omega-3s, which help keep you in the mood. They also have lots of B12. Win-win. "Oysters create more sexual stamina because you are so turned on. Maybe it is all the zinc and B12, but once people make oysters a part of their eating routine, they crave them. And then they crave something else," says Dr. Drew Ramsey, assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and author of Eat Complete: The 21 Nutrients That Fuel Brainpower, Boost Weight Loss, and Transform Your Health.
(It's always best to remember that eating raw shellfish can lead to food poisoning, so get your raw oysters from reputable sources only. Nothing says unsexy diet like tummy trouble.)
While there is the nasty rumor that asparagus can make your pee smell, don't cross this pungent veggie off your list of romantic foods altogether. As Tristan Weedmark, Global Passion Ambassador at We-Vibe, explains it, asparagus is chock-full of vitamin E, which can help to aid in the production of testosterone.
And for the couples who are hoping to get a little bit more out of their night of passion, Weedmark says, "In addition to increasing stamina, asparagus can boost sex drive as well as sperm count."
Lovers of guac, rejoice! Avocados are so insanely nutritious that they are considered by many to be a superfood, and Weedmark categorizes the tasty fruit as a sexual superfood too. For starters, he says, avocados are an extra-rich source of monounsaturated fats and vitamin B6.
"These help keep energy levels up, which is crucial for endurance in the bedroom. They also contain mood-boosting omega-3 fatty acids, and of course, feeling happy can’t hurt when it comes to sexual interest and performance," Weedmark explains.
Of red grapes, Rebecca Lewis, in-house RD at HelloFresh, says, "They are a good source of boron, which is a mineral that helps stimulate the production of both estrogen and testosterone." Both these hormones have been shown to aid men and women in bedroom performance: estrogen for libido in women, and testosterone for physical stamina of any kind in both men and women.
Next up: Watermelon
Originally published August 2013. Updated August 2017.
Watermelon is packed with citrulline, a natural chemical that helps the body increase oxygen flow in the blood. If possible, try to find a way to mix watermelon with garlic and/or ginger, both of which are found to cause blood to flow into the private parts in both women and men.
When you're making that romantic Valentine's Day, anniversary or TGIF meal for your boo, don't forget to put on the finishing touch — fresh lemon zest is not only flavorful, but it may be an "underutilized enhancer of pleasure," according to Dr. Ramsey.
For men especially, Dr. Ramsey says that a zest of lemon will have an immediate below-the-belt impact. He explains, "Compounds in the pith act much like Viagra, and others in the zest promote a dreamy, pleasurable state by stimulating the brain's opiate receptors."
Pomegranate is an ancient symbol of romance seen throughout literature, and it's making its modern-day comeback in the new millennium. We already know that pomegranates are kind of hard to eat, which means you may have to spend a few extra minutes licking the pulp off your date's fingers. But that ripe and juicy fruit that strangely resembles the female anatomy also has nutritional benefits — as a prime source of antioxidants and a booster of sexual appetite.
"The antioxidants present in this delicious fruit are a triple threat!" Lewis says. "They help increase testosterone production, improve blood circulation and improve mood."
The puns may abound when serving nuts before sex, but L-arginine-rich nuts, like pistachios, peanuts and walnuts, can have a powerful effect when eaten pre-nookie. Lewis says, "It’s all about the L-arginine! L-arginine is an amino acid, which stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels, which in turn increases blood flow to the penis, strengthening erections."
Lewis adds, "Bonus: Watermelon contains an antioxidant that transforms into L-arginine once ingested."
Is there anything chocolate can't do? In particular, dark chocolate, while already being sexy on its own, helps release chemicals in the brain that lead to euphoria. This can help lead to a prolonged sexual experience. It's also packed with antioxidants, which generally make the body perform better.
Dr. Ramsey says, "Coffee and dark chocolate are Mother Nature's stimulants. Doubters should try a double espresso and 3 ounces of dark chocolate before their next morning romp."